Shiba Inus are the most popular companion dog in Japan, and for good reason. They’re intelligent, dignified and have the right mix of fox-like wit and pudgy dog cuteness.
Because of their intelligence, watchdog abilities and temperament suited for being left alone in an apartment, a Shiba Inu can be the perfect dog to live with you in your apartment.
Before committing to raising a Shiba within an apartment, however, you may want to read the answers to some of the most common questions, concerns and other facts about living with a Shiba within an apartment.
Why Shiba Inus are Simply Great Apartment Dogs?
Despite being rather active dogs, Shiba Inus can be calm and relaxed indoors and when left alone, as long as the owner ensures that they get their daily fill of exercise and are overall happy.
When the dog is well-trained and socialized, then a Shiba Inu will be of minimal problem in the apartment and can be a great apartment dog. Since they are a clean and tidy breed, they like to keep their surroundings clean and won’t soil your living space.
Their naturally dignified temperament ensures minimal noise complaints as they are content to be quiet as well, when happy.
Their loyalty makes them decent guard dogs of your apartment and their trademark cuteness will make them a joy to behold upon returning to your apartment in the afternoons.
Shiba Inus also require minimal attention; respecting personal space and are not wont to crowd you, although these habits will vary with the individual personality of the dog.
Apartment Features Suitable for Shiba Inus
Regardless if you’re living with a noisy dog or holding small band practices, sound-proof walls or panels would be a great investment. These can be purchased either online or constructed DIY-fashion for those with the handiwork talent.
Of course, the more the owner invests to Shiba-proof the interiors of their apartment, the better.
This means that you make every attempt possible to prevent escape attempts from your Shiba, as their naturally curious and exploratory temperament will cause them to venture out of open doors and windows, etc.
Other things you should hide are chewable objects that you don’t want to be chewed. The tendency to chew is strong with this breed, so any expensive patent leather shoes or plushies should be removed out of reach from your Shiba’s jaws.
Close off doorways or other entries either with a firmly shut or locked door. Do not be fooled into thinking baby gates are sufficient in keeping your Shiba Inu away, as they can easily scale or leap over them if they wanted to.
Children’s toys should be stored safely away out of reach or in a secured box. You may be surprised to learn that many household plants can be toxic to dogs, so keep those dangling out of reach as well.
While most dogs would reasonably stay clear of them, it’s best to clear cords and other electrical devices. Optionally you can use “no chew” spray products which can be applied on a variety of surfaces from furniture legs to cushions that are marketed to discourage canine chewing.
One of the best methods to deter chewing, however, is to provide them an acceptable outlet through the existence of chewing toys. A variety of quality, non-toxic chewing toys or bones can satisfy your Shibu’s grinding needs.
Schedule with a Shiba Inu in Your Apartment
Your daily schedule should include regular feeding and exercise intervals that are seldom varied, such as a morning or afternoon walk. Make sure to have a regular returning period either from after work or play to regularly feed your dog.
Your weekly schedule will incorporate occasional fun activities such as the occasional adventure on an ambitious hike, to grooming needs.
The Basics of Living With A Shiba Inu
The basics of living with a Shiba Inu entail the requirements of any medium-small dog breed once after it has been properly trained and socialized with other dogs: adhering to a regular schedule, feeding, daily exercises and potty times.
Factor in the weekly grooming sessions and the occasional monthly visit to your veterinarian, as well as the time spent shopping for dog treats and toys either online or in pet retail stores.
Of course, this is not to mention all the free time you’ll spend hanging out with your pet and enjoying each other’s company.
Potty Training Your Shiba Inu
One of the hallmarks to having a clean and tidy household with a dog is having it potty-trained.
Shiba Inu are an intelligent breed who prefer to keep themselves as well as their surroundings clean, and would obediently adhere to a potty routine that doesn’t include the carpet or hardwood floor.
Health and Exercise
Shiba Inus are a healthy breed, although genetically are predisposed to eye problems, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation (knee problems). A nutritionally sound diet, combined with appropriate exercise and the regular visit to the vet can keep most of these at bay.
Shiba Inu are active for their size and will require regular walks in order to quench their doggy curiosity and energy. Failure to provide them with their daily exercise can result in the dog redirecting their energy in vandalizing or destroying household furniture, to say nothing of the health effects.
In regards to exercise, according to one reddit user, “it’s not the size of the home, it’s the quality of the activity.”
Obesity and heart problems can result from a lack of exercise. However, take care not to over-exercise as it can put permanent pain and stress in your pet’s joints and bones.
What Exercise Requirements Must You Adapt to?
When a Shiba Inu puppy is only 3 months old, 15 minutes a day of exercise is enough. This time doubles to half an hour at 6 months, and increases to 45 minutes of recommended exercise for Shibas at 9 months and older age.
Usually one long walk, anywhere from half an hour to an hour is sufficient to keep an adult Shiba Inu satisfied and spent. Remember, a good dog is a tired one. If walks are not possible, then short increments of energetic play would do.
Regardless of snowy, suboptimal climate or a bad neighborhood, there exist many toys and specialized training products for sale online that can help your pet work a sweat indoors when the weather or surroundings don’t permit it.
Is It Okay to Leave My Shiba Inu Alone During the Day?
While it is said that the maximum amount of time an adult Shiba Inu can be left alone in an apartment is around 6 to 8 hours, the less you leave your pet alone the better.
Dogs, being the warm-blooded best friend of man they are can still develop anxiety away from their owners no matter their size or breed. To ensure minimal protests or expressions of doggie worry, try not to leave the Shiba alone for more than 6-8 hours.
Even when not considering your Shiba’s mental state and restlessness, your pet does have the need to be fed and go to the bathroom. The time to leave your Shiba Inu alone thus is shortened, especially if it’s a puppy to that of 3 hours as it will have to go to the bathroom soon.
Even then, it’s best to only allow puppies from a range of 1 to 6 months to be alone for only a maximum of one hour.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Shiba are not only a quiet breed but can bark and guard when necessary, as their loyalty and alertness makes them great watchdogs for your apartment. They are not recommended, however, as a first dog or for inexperienced owners.
Shiba have historically been used as hunting companions and are the smallest native Japanese dogs and also the most popular companion dog in Japan.
Their talents include navigating any terrain with ease, as well as having the ability to escape enclosed areas easily. Thus, if keeping a fence or backyard, make sure latches are tightly secured and that there are no holes around gates.